IMPACT is Greater Clark’s version of Response to Instruction (RTI) and places a daily focus on individualizing education to meet the diverse needs of each student. It was customized to meet our school district’s needs after an instructional cabinet consisting of teachers and administrators from across our school district studied the concept over the course of a semester and designed a framework that was implemented in January of 2013.
IMPACT focuses on two primary skill areas: reading and behavior. As schools have been forced to focus their curriculum efforts on student mastery of standards, the IMPACT program instead focuses on essential skill development. In Greater Clark, we understand the importance of standards mastery; however, we also understand that those standards cannot be mastered when students cannot read with a high level of competency and/or cannot learn because of an inability to behave in an appropriate and reasonable manner.
From a reading perspective, the framework consists of students reading every day, writing every week, and publishing every quarter. We utilize STAR, a web-based assessment tool, to universally screen and progress monitor students’ reading and math skills. Students take the assessment either on their Chromebooks (grades 3-12) or in computer labs (K-2). All students are assessed at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year on skills identified as highly predictive of future success or failure. These benchmarks assess the overall effectiveness of core instruction and provide teachers with individual student lexile (reading level) scores as well as instructional planning reports based on the reading skills students need to learn.
Students who are not reading at grade level after the fall STAR assessment are placed in intervention groups depending on the extent of their achievement gaps. Some students need supplemental instruction (Tier 2), while others need a more intense intervention plan (Tier 3). Each Greater Clark school has time built into its daily schedule called IMPACT, which allows students to receive 30 minutes of intervention in groups based upon specific reading skill deficits. Because student-teacher ratio is so important, the more intense the intervention, the smaller the groups. Each school uses collaborative planning time to analyze the data and place students in their appropriate IMPACT groups. Greater Clark is fortunate to have staff collaboration built into its workday. This time is called Period 0 and takes place three mornings per week prior to students reporting to school. Teachers and administrators have anywhere from 30-50 minutes to meet in grade level, departmental, or full faculty meetings to collaborate on student achievement issues. At least one of those three days per week is focused on the review of student achievement data.
Once students are assessed and identified for intervention, plans are written for each Tier 2 and Tier 3 student, which include a progress monitoring component where students are assessed every two to three weeks to monitor overall growth. Progress monitoring also plays a critical role in evaluating how well a student is responding to the intervention and, more importantly, how to adapt instructional practice when he/she is not making progress. Parents of Tier 2 students are informed of the plan, while Tier 3 students require a parent conference to review the plan.
After each nine-week quarter, each student’s plan is reviewed and modified depending on each student’s progress. It is important to note that all students are involved in IMPACT daily. Students who are not below grade level in terms of their reading skill are still provided reading-based enrichment activities.
All Greater Clark teachers have received professional development regarding the IMPACT program and how to increase student literacy skills in their regular instructional practice (Tier 1). Although it is our school district’s expectation that teachers differentiate their instructional practice on a daily basis in the regular classroom setting, IMPACT provides a focused, daily effort to meet the needs of each student in a small group setting.
IMPACT is only as effective as the data utilized by teachers to make appropriate instructional decisions. To manage the data, we have invested in a data warehouse called PIVOT. Although the software is in the early stages of implementation, it has provided teachers with the ability to group students and progress monitor students, which is essential to an effective RTI program. IMPACT is making a significant difference in helping individual students close achievement gaps.